Appium – The Mobile Automater
Technical Feed
Reema R November 24, 2017

Mobile Application Testing

Mobile technology is at its zenith, impacting the everyday lives of people. Together with customer apps, enterprise apps are evolving as well, improving the productivity of businesses. It is important to build an app with all features and functionalities required by the customer and beneficial to the app user, but what is even more critical is a rigorous mobile application testing before the app is deployed. In this blog, I would be shedding light upon mobile app testing using Appium, the mobile automater.

Before moving on, let’s take a look at the basic types of mobile applications:

Native apps are apps that are present in devices and accessible using the corresponding icons in the home screen. Mobile web apps are apps that access websites on mobile through different browsers. Hybrid apps, on the other hand, are combinations of native apps and mobile web apps.

What makes testing mobile applications more challenging than testing web applications are the following factors:

  • Different range of mobile devices
  • Different versions of operating systems
  • Different mobile network operators

Manually testing the application is simple. It can be done if the build is available in the form of apk (Android Application Package) file for android and ipa (iOS Appstore Package) file for iOS. You just need to follow these simple steps:

  • Get the apk/ipa file
  • Download and install it in the device
  • The installed package then appears as an app along with the installed apps in the device
  • Click on the application icon (launch icon) to get started

However the manual test process is repetitive and cumbersome. So for regression test cases and for complex scenarios that are time consuming, automation testing is preferred.

What is Appium?

For mobile test automation, Appium is one of the many tools available in market. It is an open source, cross-platform test automation tool for native, hybrid and mobile web apps, tested on simulators, emulators, and real devices.

Appium Architecture

Appium is an HTTP server written in Node.js which creates and handles multiple Web Driver sessions for different platforms like iOS and Android.

Appium Architecture

  • Appium client (C# or Java) connects with Appium Server and communicates via JSON Wire Protocol
  • An automation session for the client is created by Appium server. It checks the desired capabilities of clients and connects with respective vendor-provided frameworks like Selendroid/UIAutomator (based on Android versions)
  • UI automator will then communicate with bootstrap.jar running in Emulator/Real device for performing client operations
  • jar acts as a TCP server to perform action on AUT (Application Under Test)

Why Appium?

  • Due to the use of standard automation APIs on all platforms, you don’t have to recompile your app or modify it in any way.
  • You can write tests using any WebDriver-compatible language such as Java, Objective-C, JavaScript, PHP, Python, Ruby, C#, or Perl.
  • You can use any testing framework.

Set up Appium with Eclipse on Windows

Let’s take a look at the steps to set up Appium in Windows for automating an Android application, with the scripting language as Java.

Step 1: Install the Java Development Kit (JDK)

First of all, install JDK (Java Development Kit), which includes JRE plus the development tools for writing as well as running Java programs.

Step 2: Set Up Java Environment Variable Path

To edit the PATH environment variable:

  • Go to Control Panel -> System and Security -> System -> Click “Advanced system settings”
  • Switch to Advanced tab -> Environment Variables.
  • Under System Variables, scroll down to select Path -> Click Edit.
  • Enter the JDK’s binary directory path

Step 3: Install Android SDK / ADB on Windows

Download android SDK and run the downloaded installer. Follow the on-screen instruction and accept the defaults to complete the installation.

Step 4: Install Android SDK Packages

  • Go to the folder, where the Android installation was done.
  • Go to android-sdk folder
  • Open SDK Manager.Android SDK Manager

Install the APIs required based on the android version to be used. SDK manager will install all the chosen packages.

Step 5: Set up Android Environment Variable

After you’ve installed the Android SDK Environment Kit in Windows, you must set the ANDROID_HOME environment variable to point to the Android SDK installation directory.

In order to set up ANDROID_HOME Variable:

1) Open the Control Panel -> System or Security –> System; the same thing can be done by right-clicking on My Computer and choosing Properties.

2) Choose ‘Advanced system settings‘.

3) Under the Advanced tab, choose the Environment Variable option.

4) Select New in the System variables.

5) Define the variable name and provide android sdk path

Step 6: Download and Install NodeJs

Step 7: Install Microsoft .net Framework

Step 8: Download and Install Appium Desktop Client

Install the Appium Desktop clientClick on Appium.exe for Windows to download the ‘.exe’ file for Appium. Go with the latest version of Appium. Appium will open up, once the installation is done with the below message.


Step 9: Enabling Developer Mode Options on Android Phone or Tablets

Go to Settings -> About Phone -> Scroll down to the bottom again, where you see ‘Build number’. Tap on build number 7 times -> Developer Options -> Tick the USB Debugging check box.

Step 10: Install PdaNet to Connect with Android Device

Step 11: Install Eclipse IDE and Set up a Project

  1. Create new Java Project from File > New > Project
  2. Give your Project name as ‘AppiumTestProject‘. Click on Finish button.
  3. Create a new package under this project -> Create a new class under this package
  4. Right click on your Project name -> Select Build Path -> Select Configure Build Path
  5. Add all the required selenium and appium client libraries 

Once the project settings are done, we can start scripting. The basic part of the script involves defining the desired capabilities, a set of keys and values sent to the Appium server to tell the server what kind of automation session we are interested in starting up.

browserName Name of mobile web browser
appium-version Version of Appium
platform Version Mobile OS version
deviceName Kind of mobile devices to be used
platformName Kind of mobile OS platform to be used

Look at the sample script for defining desired capabilities:

DesiredCapabilities cap = new DesiredCapabilities();

cap.setCapability(“browserName”, “chrome”);

cap.setCapability(“appium-version”, “1.4.0”);




Attach Android device with your system and type adb device command on cmd prompt to verify that the device is attached or not. Launch Appium tool on your machine. Once the Appium is launched run the script written in Eclipse.

You are ready to go!! Happy scripting!!!